Excitement is growing for the inaugural Hammer Series event, a three day ‘festival of cycling’ to be held in Holland early next month.
Seven of the top teams have announced their line-ups with names such as Caleb Ewan, Fernando Gaviria, Andre Greipel and Tom Dumoulin in the mix.
The debut Hammer Series will take place from June 1-4, at Limburg in the Netherlands. Future Hammer Series events will be held at various locations around the world.
But first the focus is on Limburg, a region steeped in cycling tradition having hosted countless Classics and Grand Tour stages. A strong supporter base is expected for the 4-day festival of cycling. And good news for fans Downunder, the action will be streamed online.
Ewan, Durbridge, Docker, Hayman To Spearhead Orica-Scott
16 teams will be racing, each with a squad of seven. The five most suitable riders are selected each day with the three events being the Hammer Climb, Hammer Sprint and Hammer Chase, a time trial event.
Among the top teams to announce their lineups for the debut event, Orica-Scott have selected Caleb Ewan, Luke Durbridge and 2016 Paris-Roubaix champion Mathew Hayman. Alexander Edmondson has been named in the team, along with Mitch Docker. The line-up is completed by Roger Kluge (Germany) and Sam Bewley (New Zealand). Speaking of the new series Sam Bewley described it as “a new opportunity for cycling”.
“It’s going to be huge for the fans,” said Bewley.
“Everything’s centralised, it’s on the same circuit, short circuits so you can see a lot of the race and hopefully there will be a bit of a party atmosphere out there as well. It looks to be an event that can grow and promote our sport a lot.”
More Big Names
Belgian outfit Quick-Step Floors Pro Cycling Team have announced a formidable team including Fernando Gaviria, Philippe Gilbert and Zdeněk Štybar. Colombian sprinter Gaviria will wear the pink jersey at the Giro d’Italia on Stage 4 on Tuesday after his victory in Cagliari. On the looming Hammer Series he said: “We showed amazing team work to win the Maglia Rosa on Sunday, and we’ll need to do the same at Hammer Series to have a chance of winning.”
Lotto Soudal have announced two key riders: André Greipel – one of the world’s finest sprinters who triumphed in Stage 2 of the Giro d’Italia on Saturday – and another Giro stage winner, Tim Wellens. Like the other teams, Lotto Soudal adapted their selection to the specific needs of the event – sprinting, climbing and a team pursuit.
Team Giant Sunweb’s Tom Dumoulin, a stage winner at all three Grand Tours, and his fellow Dutch all-rounder Wilco Kelderman will be out to deliver a win in their home country. Dumoulin’s time-trialling ability will be key for Team Sunweb in the decisive Hammer Chase on Sunday 4th June. Dumoulin’s dramatic and brave success on Stage 9 of the 2016 Tour de France demonstrated his ability to add to the Hammer Climb and Hammer Sprint stages.
Cannondale-Drapac have named an impressive line-up including the Belgian Sep Vanmarcke and Dutchman Tom-Jelte Slagter, winner of the 2013 Tour Down Under, and his compatriot Wouter Wippert, the specialist sprinter who will be key in the Hammer Sprint.
The confirmed WorldTour and Pro-Continental teams competing In the series are –
• Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team
• BMC Racing Team
• Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team
• Movistar Team
• Quick-Step Floors
• Team Lotto NL-Jumbo
• Team Sky
• Team Sunweb
• UAE Team Emirates
• Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
• Israel Cycling Academy
• Nippo-Vini Fantini
• Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij